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overweening self-confidence or hypocrisy."* Yet the British parliament, urged on by the British masses, did precisely, with the example of St Domingo before their eyes, what the Constituent Assembly had done, and a similar ruin must inevitably attend both colonies.
Are the friends of humanity, then, consoled by the rapid diminution of the slave trade, and the general amelioration of the African race, for the fatal blow thus struck at the West India colonies, and the evident approaching extinction of a trade, which, before it was destroyed, employed 240,000 tons of British shipping, and took off L.3,800,000 worth of British manufactures? Alas! here the prospect is still darker; and the evident degradation and loss of their industrious habits, under the premature and blasting gift of freedom, and their rapid relapse into the indolence and insouciance of savage life, speak in a voice of thunder the irreparable ruin we have inflicted on the once-flourishing negro race in our West India colonies. Every arrival from those fatal settlements brings the same woful accounts of fields neglected, canes rotting, indolent negroes spending whole weeks in idleness, or casually working a few hours a-day, as caprice or some passing wish prompts them, and then relapsing into their pristine lazy and savage habits. It would fill a volume to quote any considerable number of these reports: they are all of the same character, and their results will be soon proclaimed in statistical returns, showing the rapid decline of the agricultural produce of the whole islands, which will at once silence misrepresentation and defy reply.
No other result could possibly have been anticipated from a measure which, however well intended, was founded on such absurd and delusive principles as the Slave Emancipation Act. The principle on which it proceeded was, that five years were sufficient to clothe the slave with the habits and desires of a freeman, and render the transition from servitude to liberty safe and salutary: it may safely be affirmed that five hundred years would have been little enough for the momentous change. How long did it take to wear out slavery in the British islands?
Five centuries. Why was it never found possible to extirpate it even amidst all the refinements and civilisation of Greece and Rome? Why does it still exist, in undiminished and undiminishing vigour, over two-thirds of the globe? Evidently because it is a necessary step in the progress of civilisation: because without it savage man never has worked, and never will work; because without its coercion the human race would be chained for ever to the hunter or shepherd state; because, but for the slavery of our Saxon progenitors, we would now have been wandering in the woods; because, whatever evils may be attendant on servitude, and they are many and grievous, they are trivial in comparison of the universal and widespread penury, the total stoppage of the advance and prospects of the human race, which instantly follows the cursing of uncivilized man with the nominal blessings, but the real destitution, of freedom. To men in the stage of advance which the African negroes exhibit, liberty is the same thing as it would be to a herd of cattle or a troop of camels-the signal for the immediate abandonment of the restraints and the enjoyments of domestic life, and resumption of the want, the penury, and independence of the prairie or the desert.
Does the cessation of the slave trade over the globe, the evident amelioration of the African race, and the stoppage of the unutterable horrors of the middle passage, console the friends of humanity for this disappointment of all their hopes, and blasting of their expectations on the other side of the Atlantic? Alas! here the prospect is even more gloomy than on the sunny slopes of Jamaica, now choked with weeds, or the rich marshes of Guiana, fast relapsing into jungle. The slave trade has been DOUBLED IN EXTENT AND QUADRUPLED IN HORRORS throughout the globe, by the monstrous act; and the sufferings of the African race, under European cupidity, is now incomparably greater than when the philanthropy of Wilberforce and Clarkson first interfered for their relief. The rapid decline in the agricultural produce of the British West India islands, has given an impulse to
* THIBAUDEAU, Conseil d'Etat 117, 121.
the foreign slave colonies which is almost incredible; and augmented to an extent which it is piteous to think of, both the number of blacks who are annually torn from their homes and their children in Africa, and the barbarity with which they are treated in their passage to the American shores. Twelve years ago, the only exports of Puerto-Rico were cattle and coffee, and the only sugar she received was from importation. In 1833 she exported 33,750 tons more than a sixth of the whole British consumption. The export of sugar from Cuba was, on an average of 1814, 1815, and 1816, 51,000 tons; in 1833 it had risen to 120,000 tons. In 1814, 1815, and 1816, the average exports of sugar from Brazil was 26,250 tons; in 1833, though a bad year, the exports were 70,970 tons. The increase, since the Emancipation Act passed, has been still greater but no official accounts of these years have yet been made public.
As might well have been expected, this prodigious increase in the produce of the foreign slave colonies, consequent on the progressive decline, and at length the almost total stoppage, of industry in the British settlements, under the influence of fiscal oppression and emancipation madness, has been obtained only by a vast increase in the importation of the African race, and a terrific addition to the sum of human suffering. The raising of sugar, by the stationary, domestic, half civilized English serf, who had ascended a few steps on the ladder of freedom, having ceased, or evidently approaching cessation, the void has been supplied by an extraordinary multiplication of African savages, who are now treated and worked with a severity, compared to which, the condition of our domesticated slaves was Paradise." Great and deplorable as were the sufferings of the captives in crossing the Atlantic, in the large and capacious Liverpool slaveships, they are as nothing compared to those which have since been, and are still, endured by the negroes in the hands of the Spanish and Portuguese traders, where several hundred wretches are stowed between decks in a space not three feet high; and in addition
to the anguish inseparable from a state of captivity, they are made to endure, for weeks together, the horrors of the black-hole of Calcutta. Nearly two hundred thousand captives, chained together in this frightful manner, now annually cross the Atlantic; and they are brought, not to the comparatively easy life of the British West India Islands, but to the desperate servitude of Cuba or Brazil; in the latter of which several hundred negroes are worked, like animals, in droves together, without a single female among them, and without any attempt to perpetuate their race; they are worn down by their cruel taskmasters to the grave by a lingering process, which on an average terminates their existence in seven years!"†
What does Mr Buxton, a most unexceptionable authority on this point, say to the amount of this fortuitous increase of the foreign slave trade of late years? "Twenty years ago, the African Institution reported to the Duke of Wellington, that the number of slaves who annually crossed the Atlantic was 70,000. There is evidence before the Parliamentary Committees to show, that about one-third was for the British islands, one-third for St Domingo; so that, if the slave trade of other countries had been stationary, they ought only to import 25,000; whereas, the number landed in Cuba and Brazil alone is 150,000 annually; being more than double the whole draft on Africa, including the countries where it had ceased, when the slave trade controversy began. Twice as many human beings are now its victims as when Wilberforce and Clarkson entered on their noble task; and each individual of this increased number, in addition to the horrors which were endured in former times, has to suffer from being cribbed up in a narrower space, and on board a vessel where accommodation is sacrificed to speed. Painful as this is, it becomes still more distressing if it shall appear that our present system has not failed by mischance, or want of energy, or want of expenditure; but that the system itself is erroneous, and must necessarily end in disappointment."†
The remedy which Mr Buxton and
* See Parl. Report on the Commercial State of the West Indies, p. 286. † Alison's History of Europe, vol. vi. p. 128. African Slave Trade, by T. F. Buxton, M.P. London: 1389. 172.
the anti-slavery advocates propose for these awful evils, is the declaring the slave trade piracy by the laws of all civilized nations. It is evident now that this would only still further aggravate the existing evils; and that nothing but it is wanting to put the last hand to the cup of African bitterness. The whole navies of the world. could not stop the smuggling of slaves between Africa and the American shores; the search for slave ressels, with the penalty of death hanging over the crew if taken, would only aggravate the sufferings of the captives by rendering desperate the cruelty of the captors. If the trade were stopped from the African shores, it would speedily begin from the southern provinces of America, who would breed slaves to fill up the gap produced by British madness in the West Indies. One way, and one only, of stopping the infernal traffic exists; and that is, enabling the British planter, with stationary slaves, gradually improving in industry, to undersell the foreign slave-holder in the supply of the world with sugar. That methodthe simple, just, progressive method of nature was in satisfactory progress; and the slave trade must have declined, and perhaps in the course of ages expired, from the effect of the competition of the British stationary serf with the foreign imported slave, when the whole progress was stopped by the Emancipation Act; our own islands reduced to ruin; our own slaves restored to savage life; and a new impulse, to which philanthropy can assign no limits, communicated to the execrable traffic in human flesh! Such even, when under humane guidance, and when actuated by a benevolent spirit, is the legislation of the masses. What must it be, if stimulated by cupidity and directed by ambition?
After the dreadful and irremediable evils inflicted on our own subjects our own negroes-and the African race in general, by the well-meant but ill-judged and most disastrous legislation of late years, the recent disputes between the mother country and the Jamaica House of Assembly sink into insignificance, and cease to be the object of serious attention, except as indicating the indisposition of the party, unhappily still possessing
the majority in the British legislature, either to stop in the career of injustice, or make any amends for the errors of past times. It is evident, however, that, having plunged so deeply into former errors, it was incumbent on the British parliament to have had more than usual toleration for exasperated feeling and wounded interests to have recollected that men, seeing their properties and the substance of their families wasting away, under the effect of former British legislation-could not be expected to have their feelings peculiarly cool, or their tempers signally under control, in political contests with the dominant power, from whom they had suffered so much: and that now, when experience is on all sides so clearly demonstrating how well grounded their complaints really are, was the time, by a respectful attention to their suggestions and uniform deference to their wishes, to have demonstrated the disposition of the parent state, to remedy, so far as yet in their power, the existing evils. Instead of this, what have the Liberal Ministry done? Why, they brought in a bill sus, ending the constitution of Jamaica, on the first angry controversy with the British Parliament ; and on its being stopped by the firmness and zeal of the Conservative opposition, they have brought in another, substantially the same, and vesting absolute legislative power in the governor and council, if certain acts of Assembly were thrown out by the veto of the sovereign authority! We first tax the West India planter one hundred per cent on his agricultural produce; next let loose the live stock on his estate for less then half their value, and in so doing, render his fields totally unproductive; and, when he remonstrates on a subordinate point of management, deprive him of all his liberties and reduce him to despotic authority! If these are the blessings which democratic institutions secure to their colonial dependencies, what evils has despotism in store for its subjects? and if such is the system of government of a widely-extended colonial dominion, how long is it likely to withstand the shock of fortune consequent on the almost total paralysis of the central executive power?
ON HUME'S ARGUMENT AGAINST MIRACLES.
HUME's argument against miracles is simply this:-Every possible event, however various in its degree of credibility, must, of necessity, be more credible when it rests upon a sufficient cause lying within the field of what is called nature, than when it does not more credible when it obeys some mechanical cause, than when it transcends such a cause and is miraculous.
Therefore, assume the resistance to credibility, in any preternatural occurrence, as equal to x, and the very ideal or possible value of human testimony as no more than x, in that case, under the most favourable circumstances conceivable, the argument for and against a miracle will be equal: or, expressing the human testimony by z, affected with the affirmative sign [+]; and expressing the resistance to credibility on the other side of the equation, by, affected with the negative sign [x], the two values will, in algebraical language, destroy each other, and the result will be 0. But, inasmuch as this expresses the value of human testimony in its highest or ideal form, a form which is never realized in experience, the true result will be different,-there will always be a negative result = -y; much or little according to the circumstances, but always enough to turn the balance against believing a mi racle.
"Or in other words," said Hume, popularising his argument, "it will always be more credible that the reporter of a miracle should tell a false hood, or should himself have been the dupe of appearances, than that a miracle should have actually occurred→ that is, an infraction of those natural laws (any or all) which compose what we call experience. For, assume the utmost disinterestedness, veracity, and Bound judgment in the witness, with the utmost advantage in the circumstances for giving full play to those qualities; even in such a case the value of affirmative testimony could, at the very utmost, be equal to the negative value on the other side the equation : and the result would be, to keep my faith suspended in equilibrio. But in any real case, ever likely to come before
us, the result will be worse; for the af firmative testimony will be sure to fall in many ways below its ideal maximum; leaving, therefore, for the final result a considerable excess to the negative side of the equation.
Of the Argument as affected by the Covert Limitations under which it is presented.
Such is the Argument: and, as the first step towards investigating its sanity and its degree-its kind of force, and its quantity of force, we must direct our attention to the following fact, viz., that amongst three separate conditions under which a miracle (or any event whatever) might become known to us, Hume's argument is applied only to one. Assuming a miracle to happen (for the possibility of a miracle is of course left open throughout the discussion, since any argument against that would at once foreclose every question about its communicability), then it might happen under three several sets of circumstances, in relation to our consciousness. 1st, It might happen in the presence of a single witnessthat witness not being ourselves. This case let us call Alpha. 2dly, It might happen in the presence of many wit
nesses,-witnesses to a vast amount, but still (as before) ourselves not being amongst that multitude. This case let us call Beta. And 3dly, It might happen in our own presence, and fall within the direct light of our own consciousness. This case let us call Gamma.
Now these distinctions are impor tant to the whole extent of the question. For the 2d case, which is the actual case of many miracles recorded in the New Testament, at once cuts away a large body of sources in which either error or deceit could lurk. Hume's argument supposes the reporter of the miracle to be a dupe, or the maker of dupes-himself deluded, or wishing to delude others. But, in the case of the thousands fed from a few loaves and small fishes, the chances of error, wilful or not wilful, are diminished in proportion to the
number of observers; and Hume's inference as to the declension of the affirmative a, in relation to the negative x, no longer applies, or, if at all, with vastly diminished force. With respect to the 3d case, it cuts away the whole argument at once in its very radix. For Hume's argument applies to the communication of a miracle, and therefore to a case of testimony. But, wherever the miracle falls within direct personal cognizance, there it follows that no question can arise about the value of human testimony. The affirmative a, expressing the value of testimony, disappears altogether; and that side of the equation is possessed by a new quantity (viz., ourselves our own consciousness) not at all concerned in Hume's argument.
Hence it results, that of three possible conditions under which a miracle may be supposed to offer itself to our knowledge, two are excluded from the view of Hume's argument.
Whether the second of these conditions is not expressly noticed by Hume. It may seem so. But in fact it is And (what is more to the purpose) we are not at liberty to consider it any accident that it is not. Hume had his reasons. Let us take all in proper order: 1st, that it seems so; 2dly, that in fact it is not so; and 3dly, that this is no accident, but intentional.
1st, Hume seems to contemplate such a case, the case of a miracle witnessed and attested by a multitude of persons, in the following imaginary miracle which he proposes as a basis for reasoning. Queen Elizabeth, as every body will remember who has happened to read Lord Monmouth's Memoirs, died on the night between the last day of 1602 and the first day of 1603 this could not be forgotten by the reader, because, in fact, Lord M., who was one of Her Majesty's nearest relatives (being a younger son
of her first cousin Lord Hunsdon,) ob. tained his title and subsequent preferment as a reward for the furious ride he performed to Edinburgh (at that time at least 440 miles distant from London), without taking off his boots, in order to lay the earliest tidings of the great event at the feet of her successor. In reality, never did any death cause so much posting day and night over the high roads of Europe. And the same causes which made it so interesting has caused it to be the best dated event in modern history; that one which could least be shaken by any discordant evidence yet discoverable. Now, says Hume, imagine the case, that, in spite of all this chronological precision-this precision, and this notoriety of precision-her Majesty's court physicians should have chosen to propagate a story of her resurrection. Imagine that these learned gentlemen should have issued a bulletin, declaring that Queen Elizabeth had been met in Greenwich park, or at Nonsuch, on May-day of 1603, or in Westminster, two years after, by the Lord Chamberlain when detecting Guy Faux-let them even swear it before twenty justices of the peace; I for one, says Hume, am free to confess that I would not believe
them. No: nor, to say the truth, would we; nor would we advise our readers to believe them.
2dly, Here, therefore, it would seem as if Hume were boldly pressing his principles to the very uttermost that is, were challenging a miracle as untenable, though attested by a multitude. But, in fact, he is not. only seems to do so; for, if no number of witnesses could avail anything in proof of a miracle, why does he timidly confine himself to the hypothesis of the queen's physicians only coming forward? Why not call in the whole Privy Council?—or the Lord Mayor and Common Council of London-the Sheriffs of Middlesexand the Twelve Judges? As to the court physicians, though three or four nominally, virtually they are but one
* "In proportion to the number of observers."-Perhaps, however, on the part of Hume some critical apologist will say-" Doubtless he was aware of that; but still the reporters of the miracle were few. No matter how many were present, the witnesses for us are but the Evangelists." Yes, certainly, the Evangelists; and, let us add, all those contemporaries to whom the Evangelists silently appealed. These make up the "multitude" con. templated in the second case.